In Pictures: 20 Do-It-Yourself Geek Projects From Instructables

A Homemade Remote Control

Apple offers a remote control for some of its products. Some Macs, Apple TVs, and certain accessories (like docks) have an infrared receiver for this purpose. The company sells the six-button remote for about $20. So, a resourceful customer decided to build his own using an Arduino prototyping platform. It may not be pretty, and it’s a lot bigger than the original, but at least it’s homemade...

A Double-Ended USB Drive

This double-ended thumb drive is, in fact, made up of two standard, compact USB keys. The homemade housing is rather cool-looking, and the device's advantage, obviously, is being able to keep different types of data separate.

A Built-In Fingerprint Reader

Fingerprint readers were popular for a few years, but they seem to be rarer on laptops now. But, if you still want to use biometrics to protect your data, there’s a solution: build the reader directly into the computer’s chassis. Your laptop needs to have available space inside (some don’t), and you need a USB hub you can modify. But, the results are interesting.

Bluetooth Garage Door Opener

This one’s a little more practical: open your garage door via Bluetooth connectivity. Using a small Bluetooth controller, a smartphone, and a little time, you can open your garage door remotely and efficiently. As is often the case, this won’t work with an iPhone. Apple deliberately limits Bluetooth functionality.

Use An Old Telephone As A "Hands-Free" Kit

Are you into nostalgia? This little trick lets you easily recycle an old telephone by connecting it to a PC via two standard jacks. The modification requires salvaging parts from an old analog modem, but those are easy to find. Obviously, your grandmother’s old phone won't perform as well as the latest headphones for gaming, but it has so much more class.

An Upvote/Downvote Button For A Web Site

This amusing little project is for "voting" on certain Web sites (in this case, the online community Reddit) by simply pressing an arrow. In fact, the hardware emulates a USB keyboard and sends the appropriate shortcut to the site. Maybe somebody will build one to vote + and – on the comments on our articles, too.

An Infrared Filter

Would you like to take nice pictures with an infrared filter? It’s fairly simple. You need a diskette and a camera (like the one in your smartphone) that can capture infrared light. It's easy to check if your camera can do this; if you hit a button on your television's remote control and see the LED at the end light up through the camera, it'll work. Some cameras have very good filters, though, which means they'll block IR light almost completely. You’ll need to take pictures with strong infrared sources, such as the sun.

A Homemade Keylogger

It's fairly easy for a budding spy to manufacture a homemade keylogger (a little tool that records what's being pressed on a keyboard). For reasons of convenience, a USB-to-PS/2 adapter is used (the PS/2 serial protocol is simpler), which means that the computer you use the keylogger on has to have a PS/2 connector.

Help For A Runny Nose, From A Mac

We’ll end with a bit of sacrilege: Turning Apple’s most sacrosanct Mac, the Power Mac G4 Cube, into a Kleenex dispenser.

  • xpeh
    The Apple Kleenex box is probably one of the best uses for Apple's products.
  • esrever
    xpehThe Apple Kleenex box is probably one of the best uses for Apple's products.And its overpriced like everything apple.
  • Syaoran74
    the usb light is over complicated
    -get usb cable rather than drive as they are already split in wires.
    -find 5v and ground (usually red and black)
    - get 5v led , resistor and wires.
    -solder together.
    i did something similar for a diy laptop cooler but using a 12v fan so didnt need the resistor and a card box as a platform
  • Roland Of Gilead
    Literally, THE most boring article ever on Tom's!!
  • Northwestern
    While some of these DIY projects are useful (Computer lock and double end thumb drive), others are actual products you can find in stores (USB Lamp and Phone charger).
  • Augray37
    this article....was awesome!
  • junixophobia
    Hey tom, can you allow more than 20 likes for comment?
  • quangluu96
    The only thing Apple is great at is copy and paste and call it innovation.
  • aww man, none of my computer related instructables are on the list =
  • geof2001
    The kleenex box was actually slated for a release at one point. It was call and iBlow.Jobs cancelled it though after some very messy results with user testing. That and there was a high risk of patent infringement